Lahore, August 20, 2013 (PPI-OT): Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward on Monday pledged to extend sector-specific cooperation to Pakistan in its bid to increase the volume of bilateral trade that has yet to touch one billion dollar mark.
The Australian High Commissioner was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). The LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar presented the address of welcome while the other speakers include LCCI Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, former President Mian Muzaffar Ali, former Senior Vice President Abdul Basit, Executive Committee Members Mian Tariq Rehman, Mian Zahid Javaid, Khawaja Shahzeb Akram, Shoaib Zahid Malik, former Executive Committee members Syed Muhammad Umair, Muhammad Haroon, Rehmatullah Javaid and Jamil A Naz.
The Australian diplomat said that a tremendous potential exists between the two countries and should be explored through exchange of delegations and joint ventures. He said that Australia has the potential for investment in specialised sectors and there is an immense in livestock, agriculture such as mangoes and citrus posses the potential to penetrate the Australian market because of its quality and exceptionally good taste.
The Australian High Commissioner said that Australia could help Pakistan in capacity building of its professionals and also could provide expertise in improving agricultural productivity, post-harvest value addition, dairy products, livestock, food processing, mining and oil and gas exploration.
He said that Pakistani textiles also have good prospects in the Australian market therefore Pakistani businessmen should focus on this market to avail the opportunity. The High Commissioner said that Australia has a long-term commitment with Pakistan and is ready to play a proactive role so that Pakistan could be able to overcome the challenges being faced by it. He, however, clarified that both Pakistan and Australia need to work more closely in the agriculture, energy, education, engineering and social sector.
The High Commissioner said that Pakistani businessmen can take advantage of Australian technological advancements to play their role for economic turnaround of the country.
The diplomat said that Pakistan could avail Australian expertise in training as Australian Training Modules are best of the best in the world. He also called for frequent exchange of business-related delegations so that both the sides could have first-hand knowledge of the available opportunities.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that Australia was doing over $ 500 billion business with the world while the volume of its business with Pakistan is just over $ 800 million and the situation calls for more interaction in term of bilateral economic relations.
The LCCI President said Pakistan’s imports from Australia are $ 651 million while exports are far less than $ 200 million and this is an area that should be focused on exclusively. “Had the policy makers taken the low volume of exports to Australia into consideration, keeping in view the potential in two sides, the two way trade volume had crossed the psychological dollar 1 billion mark.”
He said that although, the exports have registered an increase of about $ 30 million when are compared to the exports in 2010 but the increase is negligible. The bilateral trade figures do not match with the actual trade potential of two countries. Both the countries have some potential areas for growth like agriculture, mining, energy and education etc.
Australia having developed excellent education base over the period of time is considered a suitable destination for Pakistani students to pursue with their ambitions to get higher education. But due to strict eligibility requirements for internship programs, they cannot avail the opportunities to have hands-on experience in the corporate sector of Australia. Furthermore Australians have vast expertise in healthcare, power generation, sanitation and water purification so Pakistan can take benefit from their expertise.
There is also a need for attaining better market access in exports of agro products and seafood to the Australian market. Dairy and livestock sector is growing well in Pakistan and there is still a tremendous potential of growth which can be explored through joint ventures between Pakistani and Australian businessmen. “We would like you to motivate the Australian investors to consider these sectors for the mutual benefits of both the countries.”
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854